Start your engines

Some see cars as a means of transportation. To others, they’re a piece of artwork constructed with intricate design down to the finest of details and the sounds they make. Whether building them, detailing them or creating a place to enjoy them, Fox Cities area car owners enjoy vehicles — old and new — for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes, however, the spaces where car lovers keep their cars is just as important as what’s under the hood of the makes and models they drive. Four such enthusiasts gave FOX CITIES Magazine the tour of the secure spaces they’ve created for what gets their motors running — and they’re not your typical garages.

Hidden hideaway

“I’ve always been into cars,” says Rick Schinke, who recalls becoming interested in vehicles as a young boy.

When he designed his Sherwood home, Schinke wanted to have an inconspicuous place for his sports cars.

“When you looked at the house, you couldn’t tell that was there,” he says of his additional home feature. From the front of Schinke’s

Photo courtesy of Rick Schinke

Photo courtesy of Rick Schinke

home, you can see the three-car garage, but an additional two-car garage sits behind it, which is only accessible through a garage door via the first space. The track for the door was intensionally installed in reverse so it is only visible and opens into the first garage, Schinke shares.

“The whole idea was just because I have a couple of sports cars and needed to house them somewhere, I didn’t want it to not be able to be converted to something else,” he says, noting it could be made into a workout room or home theater, for example. The space features tile flooring, finishes and windows that match the rest of the home. The 24-foot wide by 25-foot deep space fits two to three cars comfortably, was constructed when the rest of the home was built in 2003 and is attached to the residence. Schinke also opted to use in-floor heating in the space, even though his home has forced air heat.

“I didn’t want to get (car) fumes into the rest of the house,” he says. “It keeps that air totally separate from the house.”

Schinke does his own detailing work, but doesn’t deal with mechanics. “I don’t tear engines apart or anything, and I have no desire to,” he adds with a chuckle.

The car lover stores his cars in the space during winter, but “as soon as it gets nice out, they’re out,” he says, noting the cars are on the road three to four times a week when weather permits.

“My interest isn’t in one particular type of car,” Schinke says. “I happen to really enjoy how a sports car feels.” He does, however, prefer the newer-model cars due to their suspensions and features.

“I don’t want to drive to another place to take a sports car for a ride,” he says. “Someday, you might get up and think it’s a nice day for a ride.”

Schinke currently has a dark grey 2012 Audi R8 Coupe and a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 60th Anniversary 427 Convertible.

“The Corvette belongs to my wife (Laurie) and mine is the Audi,” Schinke jokes. “I’m enjoying the cars that I have and probably will for sometime.” Then again, he’s had others before and one never knows what the future holds.

Tinkering treasure

“I guess I’m just kind of a gearhead,” says James “Jimmy” Stephenson who enjoys working on cars as a hobby. His three older brothers were into sports cars, but Jimmy preferred older models. At the age of 12 1/2, he bought a Model A and restored it himself. “By the time I was 16, I already had a restored car,” he recalls.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Stephenson

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Stephenson

Jimmy’s maternal grandfather, William “Bill” Storm, a machinist by trade, built his own boats from scratch. “He kind of took me under his wing and taught me what he knew,” Jimmy shares. By the age of 10, Jimmy says he was welding. He also negotiated a deal involving the family lawnmower since he was typically the one to handle the chore.

“I thought, ‘Hey, I should have a say in this because I cut the grass anyway,’” he says, adding that he was able to convince his dad to purchase a new mower so Jimmy could repurpose the old motor for his go-cart.

Over the years, Jimmy has had various collections, including stamps and coins, but has always enjoyed cars. He says he may have gotten his interest in collecting from his father, Clyde, now 95, who started collecting radios in his 70s.

Today, Jimmy has three cars — 1956, 1957 and 1959 356 Model Porsches — that he’s been able to tinker on in his additional heated garage workspace attached to his Combined Locks home, complete with his tools, a sandblaster and compressor. The space is adorned with car signage, a friend’s old airplane suspended from the ceiling, a Shell gas pump from the late 1940s or early ’50s, a 1955 restored Coca-Cola machine and a jukebox from the 1950s that he restored with his dad.

“This is nice and close, my wife (Lisa) knows where I’m at,” Jimmy jokes. “I wanted to set it up in the sense that it’s not just a workstation. … This older stuff, is stuff that I can still work on.”

He has had the red 1956 model for 20 years.

“One summer night I just decided to take it all apart. There was no nut or bolt on it,” recalls Jimmy. He completed the renovation in two years. “It was kind of fun. It’s almost like a family member. … I just wanted to make every little detail correct.”

He admits, he may have “over restored” the car.

“It’s a challenge to do that because there’s a phrase of ‘building it as bad as the factory did,’” Jimmy says. “Back when these cars were built, they were intended for somebody who was going to use them and not as a toy.”
The second member of the family is the blue 1957 Porsche, which is close in age to Jimmy. He purchased the car from the family of the original owner. It came to him with just over 40,000 miles on it and the original tires. Jimmy considers himself to be the car’s custodian.

“There’s a big movement now for what they call a survivor car,” Jimmy says, noting he doesn’t plan to change a thing on the vehicle other than putting safer tires on so he can drive it; he still has the old ones in the garage for show.

The last and newest member, the silver ’59, was purchased seven years ago.

“If you’re as nutty as I am, you’re trying to match the fabric as close as possible,” he says of restoring the car, including finding new upholstery material, which he tracked down in Oregon and had shipped to a business in California for cutting. Jimmy also had Appleton Trophy & Engraving etch an old logo on a new piece of glass that was used for part of a back window on the driver’s side.

“If I hadn’t done this, those are little things that would’ve bothered me,” he admits. “I’m one of these people who wants it as correct as possible.”

He will install all the restored or new pieces himself and anticipates having the car finished this fall.

“I probably get more self satisfaction out here working in the garage then driving them,” Jimmy says of his cars.

Rolling on

For the elder Stephenson brother, it’s more about being behind the wheel of a newer vehicle. Rolland “Rollie” Stephenson has been fortunate to own 54 different cars or so over the years, including 10 Ferraris.

“I’m not a golfer, I’m not a fisherman, I’ve always been a car guy,” he confesses. “I did well in business so I had the means to do it.”

Attached to the side of his Sherwood home, sits a motorsport room, with heated floors, designed with black and white checked tile

Photo by Julia Schnese

Photo by Julia Schnese

reminiscent of a racing flag, a nod to Rollie’s amateur past as a weekend racer. The space, which was built with the home 16 years ago, is able to accommodate two cars from his collection, car memorabilia, old racing photos — you’ll even spot James Dean and Steve McQueen on the walls — and steps up to an area for social gatherings or relaxing with seating, more keepsakes, a big-screen TV perfect for watching football games and a nice view of Lake Winnebago. As Rollie sees it, an “additional building could be farm stuff or they could be hobbies.”

“It’s a lot more convenient than even having them in a shed or a place a couple miles away,” he adds. “I think everyday, I’m in and out of the space. … It’s kind of nice if someone comes over and they want to know about the cars that I raced.”

Over the years, Rollie raced 10 cars, which he either owned or drove for the owner and won about 26 races. Three of the cars — a Corvette, Genie Mark 8 and Shelby Cobra — won the most races on about 11 tracks. Rollie traveled primarily between Elkhart Lake, southern Wisconsin, Illinois and the Bahamas to race, he recalls. He also raced in Minnesota, Ohio and California.

Some of the vehicles to pass through the motorsport room, when they’re not traveling or stored elsewhere, include a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 60th Anniversary ZR1 and a 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4. When Audi took over production on the Lamborghinis, the Gallardo was the first model the company became involved with on engineering and Rollie took notice.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how good the Gallardo was,” he says noting it’s small, low and handles well. “It’s just a really great car. … It’s a style that still emulates the original Lamborghini Countach. The kids in the neighborhood certainly like it. My wife (Sue Ellen) will tell you that.” Of course, it’s hard to miss with its bright orange color and sleek black interior.

“It takes me a while to get into the new stuff, I’m kind of a traditionalist,” Rollie admits. “No matter how pretty they are, it’s still an old car.”

While Rollie will still detail his cars, he leaves the mechanical work to the professionals, he says.

Beyond a barn

West of Appleton, Chuck Galipo has been thinking about his “garage” since December 2013. The unconventional space resembles more of a barn dotting the country landscape than a space to house his three cars, a Gator, lawn equipment and some unexpected surprises.

“It was a blessing in disguise because there was no garage,” says Galipo of the property he and his wife, Deb Voyles, moved to a few years ago where pheasants and turkeys roam, among other wildlife. “This won’t be your typical barn.” Overall, the barn stands at twice the size of his home at 48 feet-by-20 feet-by-8 foot tall.

Galipo, an engineer by trade, had the slab poured and the building erected, but has been doing most of the rest of the work himself — like electrical, drywall, insulation and finishing touches — with some assistance from good friends like Jimmy and Schinke, and a lot of self teaching.

“It demands attention,” he explains. “It takes time. When you’re by yourself, you go up and down the ladder 100 times.”

He had a few criteria when he began work on the project. First, the space had to have enough ceiling height to walk under cars and accommodate a hoist. Second, Galipo wanted to be able to open the doors of all his vehicles, not have the doors touch and still be able to walk around them. Third, he wanted to have a bonus room to accommodate his other hobby — slot cars. Since he has grandchildren now and at least 300 feet of track, he thought it was the perfect pairing. Fourth, heated floors were a must. “It comes through your body and doesn’t tire you out,” says Galipo who enjoys working on his cars. Last, but not least, he wanted a movie theater.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Galipo

Photo courtesy of Chuck Galipo

With the criteria figured out, it was onto the design.

“Then it was, ‘OK, what is it going to look like? Is it going to be modern? Or, is it going to be rustic?” Galipo shares. He opted for a barn feel and took his renderings to T.R. Karrels & Associates in Oshkosh. Tom Karrels did the architectural drawings and helped Galipo create his “fortress,” which includes reinforced design to keep the structure intact for years to come. Tim Binder of Dan V. Binder Construction Inc. was brought in next to execute the building, which went up in the fall of 2014. Since then, Galipo has been out in his barn every chance he gets, including in 18-degree weather.

“There’s a lot of thought put into it,” Galipo says. “This thing is kind of a temple.” Details like leaving spots open in the heated flooring where the hoist will later be installed so the tubes wouldn’t be hit, outlets for neon signs, space for car artwork and barn board wainscoting all had to be mapped out. Other unique features in the works include acoustic tiling, a projection system, hand-hewn beams, tiered seating and a mural. And, that’s just the movie theater! Galipo has a smart TV already installed in the car area, which he will be able to back feed to the theater for football games, but most often he prefers to open the three garage doors and crank up the speakers on his sound system, which sounds like a symphony playing right in his backyard.

Over the summer, he was able to complete the outside sound system and have his electrical work inspected and approved. Galipo now has his sights set on insulating the barn to begin utilizing the heated floor for inside work this winter.

Galipo refers to the barn as “kind of a retirement project” and puts it on a five-year timeline. His children have even bought him a popcorn machine for the movie theater hoping to speed things up, but Galipo says, “this is a toy.” However, when the last neon sign is hung, you can rest assured there will be one heck of a party to celebrate as Galipo and Voyles love to entertain.

“I’m not the type of collector who will have so many cars they don’t know what do with them,” he says. “The worst thing to do with a collectible car is to let it sit idle.”

While the barn could comfortably fit six, Galipo says he’ll likely only ever own three to four cars tops. Currently, a 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata 10th Anniversary Edition (No. 4,611 of only 7,500 made), a 1965 Corvette Stingray (one of 711 built) and a 1995 Ferrari F355 Berlinetta call the barn home.

The Miata, otherwise known as “Deb’s car,” has traveled to Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon while Galipo describes the Stingray as “a real sports car for me and everybody knows it. They know me by that.”

“It’s brutal and it belches and it’s loud” is how Galipo describes his favorite vehicle and the last of the fuel-injected roadsters, while the Ferrari is “smooth as silk, but when you push on it, it will howl.” The later vehicle gets up to 187 mph.

Galipo actually worked on the Stingray when he was in high school and later purchased it from his teacher in June 1984 when he drove down to San Antonio, TX to get it.

“It’s like my right arm. It’s like an extension of me,” he says. “It’s like the first time every time, it really gets your blood going.”


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